COVID-19 has made every possible social situation difficult, including classes, business meetings, and first dates. If you or your loved ones have birthdays during the pandemic, however, you don’t have to have it alone. The desire to connect with the important people in your life can be fulfilled as long as you are open to a little creativity and planning. While social distancing keeps you apart physically, it can’t stop you from having fun! Here, we provide some festive ways to get the party started, even when you are all miles away from each other.
Extend those Invites
Unlike an actual party in person, the one good thing about a video party is you can invite anyone from anywhere in the world. Think of people you can include from out of town and consider the time zone so they can attend.
The idea will be new for a lot of people, so make sure everyone knows how to get in on the fun. If it’s a family party, this is especially important for older family members who aren’t used to video calls, Zoom, Skype, etc. Email your guests with log-on instructions and provide your phone number in case anyone has issues. Once the party starts, point out features, so everyone knows how to participate.
State a Start and End Time
Tell everyone the start and end time so they know what to expect. Let people know it will be about an hour-long, but that those who wish to carry on beyond that time are welcome to do so. Remember, video calls can be a little stressful with everyone talking at once, so some people might only last a few minutes, while others might be happy to carry on longer. An hour is a nice round number that most people will feel comfortable with.
Mingle with Zoom
One of the best things about parties is being able to make the rounds and interact with different groups and individuals. While Zoom gatherings are now common, mingling is difficult. If you are planning a large birthday party, a Zoom gathering will get hectic. The good news is that Zoom offers the opportunity to manage the challenge of everyone talking at once by creating breakout rooms. You can create smaller groups, and the host and/or birthday girl or boy can bounce between calls. This gives the gathering a true party feel and allows everyone to meet and chat with people they would naturally hang out with at a party. The audio sharing feature also works well so that everyone is listening to the same music.
You really can’t have a safer way to share drinks with friends than a Zoom/video gathering. After all, everyone is home so everyone can drink; no designated drivers are required! It’s BYOB, and if anyone gets too drunk, they can bow out gracefully and go to bed.
Screen Share for Games
Consider the games you might normally play and see if there’s a way to screen share them as an activity for the party. Some great options include:
- Fibbage XL
- Drawful 2
- Zoom Bingo
Plan a Surprise Drive-By
Have guests drive by your loved one’s home at a specified time, complete with signs, balloons, and plenty of honking. It might disturb the neighbours, so make sure this is at a reasonable hour. Since we’re all in this together, it’s more likely to put a smile on your neighbours’ faces! It’s a quick moment of loving attention that will go very far in making your loved one’s day.
Set a fun backdrop to keep things festive, like balloons, streamers, birthday signs, etc. If you are hosting for someone else’s party, consider having a collage featuring their pictures or a slide show of their images playing in the background.
Parties for Two
If you’re apart from your significant other, set up a romantic dinner on your side of the screen, complete with candles, wine, and flowers, and have a first-class meal delivered to their home. You can share a meal to celebrate their special day while talking into the wee hours of the night.
Have a Movie Night
Plan a movie night where everyone can stream a Netflix favourite together on Zoom, enjoy drinks, and then talk about the movie afterwards.
Consider ways to go bigger, such as connecting a laptop to your flat-screen TV.
Have a Cake
Don’t forget to have a cake and candles so everyone can still sing “Happy Birthday.” If you don’t want to be tempted to eat an entire cake alone, go the cupcake route!
Keep the Conversation Going
People might feel awkward on a video call, so make sure you have some good conversation ideas to keep things going. It can be hard for people to come up with topics when their lives are so isolated, so discuss things like what everyone is doing to keep busy, recipes, and what everyone is binge-watching on Netflix.
Have everyone send fun snail mail cards to the celebrant that they can read and share at the party.
Businesses are thinking outside the box today to keep themselves operational. Luckily, this includes common birthday party venues. Some ideas you can look into for a kids’ party include:
- Sky Zone: Sky Zone will plan and hold a virtual kids’ party for free, with a request to tip the party planner and host as payment. The host will keep kids busy with party games, and it lasts about 20 minutes. Parents exhausted from keeping kids busy will be thrilled to have a few minutes to rest!
- Roblox: Roblox provides online gamer parties ideal for kids of all ages, including experiences like camping, water slides, or even going to the mall.
- Fortnite: This is an ideal gamer party option for all-boy parties.
- Caribu: Some great shareable apps on this site are ideal for younger kids’ parties.
- House party: Older kids can enjoy playing online games like Chips, Quick Draw, and Heads Up!
- Sidewalk messages: Much like our drive-by party idea, sidewalk messages are a great way to show your child that they are still loved. Arrange staggered times for families to drop by outside your house and leave a chalk message on the sidewalk or driveway.
- Scavenger hunts: Have a virtual scavenger hunt where kids can look for items that most households will have handy.
Although COVID-19 guidelines are keeping us apart, birthdays provide us with a reason to celebrate. Connecting via video conference apps makes it easy to share some fun and mark the milestones that tend to bring us together.